Richter, Hans



Celebrated conductor; bornatRaab, Hungary. Was the son of the cathedral chapelmaster; his mother being a soprano who taught singing with success at Vienna as late as 1853. After his father's death in 1853 he entered the choir of the Vienna Court Chapel, and about his seventeenth year became a pupil of Sechter in composition, Hellmesberger in piano, and Kleinecke in horn, at the Conservatory, where he studied for five years. For some time he played the horn in the orchestra of the Karntnerthor Theatre, and in 1866 was associated with Wagner at Lucerne. Through Wagner's recommendation he became chorusmaster of the Court and National Theatre at Munich in 1868, also conducting under yon Bülow for some months. Early in 1871 he became conductor of the National Theatre at Pesth, where he remained till 1875, when he gave an orchestral concert at Vienna. This created such marked interest as to secure for him the conductorship of the Court Opera there, and of the Philharmonic concerts. Meanwhile he conducted the Bayreuth rehearsals of the Nibelungen Ring, and in 1876 conducted the performances at that place. The next year brought out Wagner's Valkyrie at Vienna, and in 1878 the remainder of the Ring in that city, receiving immediately after the close of these performances the post of second conductor to the Court Chapel, and five years later that of first chapelmaster. He has continued to conduct the Bayreuth Festivals, and from 1879 has conducted the series of prominent concerts in London known by his name. In 1885 he became conductor of f the Birmingham Festivals, and received the honorary degree of Doctor of Music from Oxford University. In addition he has conducted several festivals in the Lower Rhine district of Germany. Richter possesses a remarkable memory, often conducting rehearsals as well as performances of the greatest orchestral works without the score. His knowledge of the various instruments is such that he can give an object lesson to any player in the orchestra, when necessary, which enables him to understand the possibilities and limitations of a performance as few conductors do. He is also known as a broad-minded and generous patron of the less noted but worthy composers of the younger generation. Firm without being aggressive or dictatorial; conscientious, liberal and sympathetic toward his men, Richter's character, no less than his ability, has determined the measure of his success, and won for him universal honor and respect.